This fall, Cal State East Bay’s Annual Fund went online for its first large-scale e-mail fundraising effort. The e-solicitation brought in additional private support for the fund, which raises money to support scholarships, academics and other university programs.
With the list of potential supporters, alumni and friends now well over 100,000, the advancement team needs to explore new ways of reaching them, said Trish Davenport, director of annual giving.
“Calling and speaking to potential donors individually is important, but it’s very time consuming,” she said. “E-mail is a good, cost-effective tool to add in maintaining a viable annual giving program as our alumni base continues to grow.”
Online fundraising is increasing in popularity for higher education, according to a survey of schools performed by CASE (the Council for Advancement and Support of Education). Respondents indicated it was most successful in reaching new donors, particularly among younger alumni, who often prefer electronic communications.
The short video solicitation was sent by e-mail to more than 27,000 potential supporters. Although the response rate was slightly lower than to traditional phone calls, Davenport said the experience was overall a positive one. “Even if people don’t make a gift, we’ve opened a relationship and invited them to partner with us in our mission through this new channel, and there’s great potential for future e-mail campaigns.”